Request Lesson : When and how to use ん=n (**のです→**んです)


=Maggie Sensei korekara dokoni ikun desu ka?
=Where are you going now, Maggie Sensei?

=Ima kara kaimono ni ikunda.
=I’m going shopping now.

This lesson is for you, Saki! ;-)
She said she had a trouble understanding how and when to use (=n).

In order to understand how to use (=n), you have to know  the form of ** のです(=** no desu. )or **のだ(=**nod.) because **んです(=**n desu) and**んだ(=**n da) are spoken language of **のです(=** no desu.) or **のだ(=**noda.).

Let’s get started!

Can you tell the difference between 1) and 2)?

1)寒いです。=samui desu.

2) 寒いのです。=samui no desu.

While 1) is just a factual thing, It’s cold.  2) sounds more explanatory indicating a reason for something.

=Ippai kikonde doushita no?
=How come you are bundled up?

=Samui no desu.
=Because it’s cold.

OK, now let’s change(=no) to (=n) here.

=Samuin desu.
=Because it’s cold.
(more casual)
=samuin da.
=‘Cause it’s cold.

It has the same meaning but using (=n) makes it sound more casual.

Basic form

adjective (na-adjective and i-adjective) and verb (dictionary form) + のです=nodesu→です=n desu

or のだ=noda→=nda

=Atsui desu.
=It’s hot. (Just a fact.)
(giving  a reason.)
=Atsui no desu.
=Because it’s hot.
=Atsuin desu.
=Because it’s hot.
(more casual)
=Atsuin da.

=‘Cause it’s hot.


=kowai desu.
=I am scared
(giving a reason)
Because I am scared.
=Kowai no desu.

=Kowain desu.

When you want to explain something, giving reasons or stress the meaning:

I will be in trouble.
(explain the reason or stress the meaning)
=Komaru no desu.
=Because/ I said / You know I will be in trouble.
=Komarun desu.
Because/ I said / You know I will be in trouble.


お金がないです。(Just a fact)
=Okane ga nai desu.
=I don’t have money.

=Okane ga nai no desu.
Because/ I said / You know I don’t have money.
=Okane ga nain desu.
Because/ I said / You know I don’t have money.
=Okane ga nain da.


Why will you be late?

=Doushite okureru no?

Because there was a traffic jam.

「道が混んでいるので(遅れます。) 」
=Michi ga konde iru node (okuremasu.)


=Michi ga konderun de (okuremasu.)


Doctor : 「どうしましたか?」

=Dou shimashitaka?
=What is wrong?

Patient : I have a stomachache.

=Onaka ga itai desu.

(more explanatory)

=Onaka ga itai no desu.


=Onaka ga itain desu.

Explain what is happening now as a reason for something

=Ima tabete imasu.
=I am eating

(emphasize, more explanatory)

=Ima tabete iru nodesu.
=(Explaining what you are doing now.)I am eating now. (So, I can’t go out now, I can’t talk to you now, etc.)
=Ima tabete iru no desu.

=Ima tabeterun desu.

Question forms :

Did you already finish your homework?

=Shukudai wa mou yarimashita ka?

(a bit stronger and sometimes it sounds accusing or challenging.)

=Shukudai wa mou yatta no desu ka?

=Shukudai wa mou yatttan desu ka?


What are you doing now?

=Ima nani wo yatte imasu ka?

(emphasizing/stronger..It may sound more accusing)

=Ima nani wo yatte iru no desu ka?



=Ima nani wo yatterun desu ka?


What is wrong? What’s the matter?

=Dou shimashita ka?

(stronger than the previous sentence, seeking explanation)

=Doushita no desuka?

=Dou shitandesuka?


What are you eating now?

=Nani wo tabete imasu ka?
(emphasizing/stronger/more curious)
=Nani wo tabete iru no desu ka?


=Nani wo tabeterun desuka?


Where are you going?

どこへ(or 行きますか?
=Doko e(or ni) ikimasu ka?

(emphasizing/stronger/More curious/it sounds accusing)

どこへ(or 行くのですか?
=Doko e (ni) ikuno desuka?
どこへ(or 行くですか?
=Doko e (ni) ikun desu ka?


Why do you go to Japan?


=Naze niho ni ikimasu ka?

(stronger/more curious/to show more interests)

=Naze nihon ni ikuno desuka?



=Naze nihon ni ikun desu ka?


What should I do?

=Doushitara ii desu ka?

(stronger/seeking the answer)

=Doushitara ii no desu ka?


=Doushitara iin desu ka?


Are you studying Japanese?/ Do you study Japanese?


=Nihongo wa benkyou shite imasuka?

(emphasizing/ showing more interest or surprised feeling)


=Nihongo wo benkyou shiteiru no desuka?

=So, you are studying Japanese?


=Nihongo wo benkyou shiterun desuka?

To complain:


=(Doushite watashi ga konna koto wo shimasuka?)

=(Why do I do this such a thing?)

(This sentence is grammatically correct but it doesn’t sound natural. )

(stronger/ complain more)

Why should I do such a thing?


=Doushite konna koto wo watashi ga suru no desuka?



=Doushite konna koto wo watashi ga surun desu ka?

When you introduce some topics,

Something funny (interesting) happened yesterday.


=Kinou, omoshiroi koto ga arimashita.

(Sounds more intriguing)

=Kinou, omoshiroi koto ga attano desu.
=Kinou, omorshiroi koto ga attan desu.

Your listener will ask,
=Nani ga atta no?
=What happened?


I  got movie tickets. Do you want to  go with me?

=Eiga no chiketto wo moraimashita ga issho ni ikimasen ka?

(emphasizing the fact you got a ticket more)

=Eiga no chiketto wo moratta no desu ga issho ni ikimasen ka?


=Eiga no chiketto wo morattan desu ga issho ni ikimasen ka?

(more casual)
=Eiga no chiketto(wo) morattan dakedo, issho ni ikanai?


I will go to Japan next week. What should I take?

来週、日本に行きますが、 何を持っていったらいいですか?
=Raishuu nihon ni ikimasu ga nani wo motteittara ii desuka?

(showing more enthusiasm for the trip)

=Raishuu nihon ni iku no desu ga nani wo motteittara ii desuka?


=Raishuu nihon ni ikun desu ga nani wo motte ittara ii desu ka?


=Raishuu nihon ni ikun dakedo nani wo motte ittara ii?


Don’t you need / want this?

=Kore irimasen ka?

(emphasizing/showing surprise)

=Kore iranai no desuka?


=Kore iranain desu ka?

When you state your opinion clearly or bring up something important,

I don’t need it anymore.


=Mou iranai no desu.



=Mou iranain desu.


I broke up with him!


=Kare to wakaretano desu.



=Kare to wakaretan desu.


He is great!


=Kare wa sugoi desu.

(showing more emotion/emphasizing)

=Karette sugoi no desu ne.


=Karette sugoin da.

(more casual)

=Karette sugoin da.


You don’t need to know that.


=Sonnna koto shiranakute mo ii no desu.


=Sonnna koto shiranakute mo ii no desu.


=Sonna koto shiranakute mo iin desu.

(more casual)


=Sonna koto shiranakute mo iin da.


That’s why I don’t want to do this.

=Dakara konna koto shitaku nai desu.


=Dakara konna koto shitaku nai nodesu.


=Dakara konna koto shitaku nain desu.

(more casual)

=Dakara konna koto shitaku nain da.


You (or I) can do whatever things you like.

=Sukina koto wo yareba ii desu.

(more opinionated)

=Sukina koto wo yareba ii nodesu.

(stronger opinion)

=Sukina koto wo yareba iin desu.

(more casual)

=Sukina koto wo yareba iinda.

Emphasize or to show more surprise,


=Kare ga yarimashita.

(emphasizing, showing more surprise, revealing a secret)


=Kare ga yatta no desu.



=Kare ga yattan desu.


Oh I see…/ Is that so? / Is that right?



(showing more surprise)

=Sou nano desuka.


=Sou nan desu ka.

Negative form :

He didn’t do it.

=Kare ga sore wo yatta nodewa arimasen./nai


=Kare ga sore wo yattan dewa arimasen./nai


This is not mine!
これは僕のじゃない! (Note : じゃ=ja is a colloquial form of では=dewa, =boku=for boys)
=Kore wa boku no ja nai.

(conversational/very colloquial)

=Kore wa bokun ja nai!


That’s not right.

そうではないです。/ (more casual) そうじゃないです。

=Sou dewa nai desu./ Souja nai desu.


そうではないのです。 /(more casual) そうじゃないのです。
=Sou dewa nai no desu./Souja nai no desu.


そうではないです。 /(more casual) そうじゃないです。
=Soudewa nain desu. / Souja nain desu.

Command form :

Go now!

早く行きなさい!(stronger : 早く行け!=hayaku ike!)

=Hayaku ikinasai!

(more dramatic/more literal)

=Hayaku iku no desu!


=Hayaku iku no da!

=Hayaku ikun da!



食べなさい!(stronger : 食べろ=tabero!)


(more dramatic/more literal)

=Taberu no desu!
=Taberun desu!
=Taberun da!

Asking someone for a favor or requesting something:

Excuse me, I would like to go to Ueno…(→How can I get to Ueno?)


=Sumimasen, Ueno ni ikitai no desuga..

(conversational→ very common)


=Sumimasen Ueno ni ikitain desuga..


I would like to study Japanese. What site do you recommend?


=Nihongo wa benkou shitaino desu ga dono saito ga iidesu ka?

(conversationalvery common)


=Nihongo wa benkou shitain desu ga dono saito ga iidesu ka?

Note : ものか ものだ go check my 「もんか、もんだ、だなんて lesson

From the picture above.

=Maggie Sensei korekara dokoni ikun desu ka?
=Where are you going now, Maggie Sensei?

=ikun desuka?

The original form is
=Dokoni iku no desuka?

* 行くの=ikuno changes to 行く=ikun

=Ima kara kaimono ni ikunda.
=I’m going shopping now.


The original form is

=iku no desu.

行くの=ikuno →行く=ikun

maggie-sensei マギー先生より=Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Look at that!  I simple one letter lesson turned into this epic monster lesson!

I am sure there are lots more examples, but that’s enough for now. BUT I will add more examples to this lesson in the future as I think of them.


 !star! Si hablas español, vete a chequear mi pagina de Facebook. Nuestra amiga, Laura, ha traducido esta leccion en español.

If you are a Spanish speaker, our friend, Laura translated this lesson. Go check my FB page.

You may also like


  1. こんにちはマギー先生
    I have confusing doubts about the usage of ん to substitute the ない negative form
    I have come across some cases that I identified it was the negative version only using ん:
    ボクは学生じゃん。。。/ instead of じゃない
    わからん。。。/instead of わからない

    I have also came across a phrase where I can’t tell if it is negative or not:
    お前に捕まえられんのか?。I guess it is the る becoming ん, so would you (japanes人) translate it as “to be captured by you” or “not to be captured by you”?

    Thanks a lot!!!

    1. @Lucas


      Though we hear じゃん a lot in conversation, (especially younger generation) it is originally from Kanto area’s dialect.It is a suffix that you use instead of じゃない. (As じゃない, it is used to make your point or express your opinion)

      これ、おいしいね。This is delicious, isn’t it?
      これ、おいしくない? Isn’t it delicious?
      これ、おいしいじゃない。This is delicious, isn’t it?

      So as わからん/しらん/〜られん are all from dialect. (These are use among older generations as well.)

  2. ちわっす, マギー先生。
    1 と 2 違っているのは何でしょ?
    1. 「んだ
    (Substitute 「の」 or 「のだ」 for 「んだ」)

    Noun/Na-Adj Verb/I-Adj

    Plain 学生なんだ 飲むんだ

    Negative 学生じゃないんだ 飲まないんだ

    Past 学生だったんだ 飲んだんだ

    Past-Neg 学生じゃなかっ たんだ 飲まなかっ たんだ

    2. 「んだ」

    Noun/Na-Adj Verb/I-Adj

    Plain 学生なんだ 飲むんだ

    Negative 学生なんじゃな い 飲むんじゃな い

    Past 学生なんだった 飲むんだった

    Past-Neg 学生なんじゃな かった 飲むんじゃな かった

    1. @Sally


      It’s depends on the subject so I will give you two possibilities.


      a) 学生じゃないんだ

      (To tell you the truth) I am not a student. (Telling a secret)
      Oh, so you are not a student. (showing your surprised feelings)
      Oh, so he/she is (or they are) not a student(s) (showing your surprised feelings)

      b) 学生なんじゃない

      He/She is a student, isn’t he/she? / They are students, aren’t they?
      I guess he/she (they) is (are) student. (when you assume something) showing your uncertain feelings.

      c) 学生だったんだ

      (To tell you the truth) I was a student. (Telling a secret or new information)
      Oh, so you were a student. (showing your surprised feelings)
      Oh, so he/she was (or they were) a student(s) (showing your surprised feelings)

      d) 学生なんだった

      I wouldn’t use noun+なんだった



      (To tell you the truth) I was not a student. (Telling a secret or new information)
      Oh, so you were not a student. (showing your surprised feelings)
      Oh, so he/she was (or they were) not a student(s) . (showing your surprised feelings)

      f) 学生なんじゃなかった

      I would say 学生じゃなかった。



      a) 飲まないんだ
      (To tell you the truth) I don’t drink. (Telling a secret or new information)
      Oh, so you don’t drink (showing your surprised feelings)
      Oh, so he/she doesn’t (or they don’t ) drink. (showing your surprised feelings)

      b) 飲むんじゃない

      He/She drinks, doesn’t he/she? / They drink, don’t they?
      I guess he/she drinks (they drink) (when you assume something) showing your uncertain feelings.


      c) 飲んだんだ
      (To tell you the truth) I drank. (Telling a secret or new information)
      Oh, so you drank. (showing your surprised feelings)
      Oh, so he/she/they drank. (showing your surprised feelings)

      d) 飲むんだった
      I should have drunk (showing your regret feelings)


      e) 飲まなかったんだ
      (To tell you the truth) I didn’t drink. (Telling a secret or new information)
      Oh, so you/ he/she/they didn’t drink (showing your surprised feelings)

      f) 飲むんじゃな かった

      I shouldn’t have drunk. (showing your regret feelings.)

  3. Hello, Maggie-sensei!

    In some novel MC comes to a shop hoping to sell some remnants of a monster. He stays in a queque and sees another guest selling the same thing. Now it’s his turn.


    1) What が means here? Could it be interpreted like ‘though’? So it’d be something like:

    ‘Hi. I’ve brought some monster parts (=even though you probably don’t need them anymore, I made efforts to come here, so…), but buy them, will you?’

    2) Is there some general rule how んだ interacts with が?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Hello Maggie Sensei;

    is it true that: “Na No Ka?” (casual) = “Na (No Desu) Ka?” (formal)

    *could You please tell me the difference between: “Na No Ka?” “Na No?” “Na No Desu Ka?” and when do we use them anyway

    Also, The final particle “Sa”, when Do we use it ?

    _Onegaishimasu =)

    1. @Ōsama

      Hello, Ōsama!

      OK, here is the difference
      〜なのですか(nano desu ka)? polite/formal
      〜なの (= nano)? casual (It is safe to use between friends.)
      〜なのか(nano ka) ? casual/rough/male speech (Since it sounds very strong, you have to be careful who you use it with.)

      さ(=sa)・さあ(=saa) is a casual suffix.

      1) Just fill the time when you think what to say

      = Ano saa, kono aida karita hon saa, motte kuru no wasurechatta.
      = You know…the book I borrowed from you the other day? I forgot to bring it today.

      2) to express your opinion./ to make your point.

      まあ、いいさ。(male speech)
      Maa, iisa.
      = Never mind.

      You may hear this usage a lot in anime, manga or drama but it could sound snobbish.

  5. こんにちは~

    1. @Lollo

      こんにちは、 Lollo,

      ★noun/ i-adj + です+ね・よね

      ★verb/ na-adj +んです+ね・よね
      (It is possible to use it with a noun when you make a question but you have to add な
      noun+ な + んです+ね・よね)

      Ex. 1) 彼はいい人ですね。
      Ex. 2) 彼はいい人なんですね。

      They both express your opinion but you emphasize your surprised feeling more with Ex.2) or when you just find out the fact that he is nice.

      Ex. 3) マギーは犬ですよね。
      Ex. 4) マギーは犬なんですよね。
      (Maggie is a dog, isn’t she?/You are a dog, Maggie, aren’t you?)

      While 3) is just checking, 4) sounds stronger and shows your feelings more.

  6. Konnichiwa, sensei ^^

    sensei, what is だと in 訓練場だと、結界が張ってあって高さが足りないんだ! mean?

    1. @just a novel lover’s
      In this case だと is a casual way of saying “(location) では” = in / at ~ (showing the contrast) but it has conditional nuance.

      Ex. I can relax at home but I can’t relax outside of my house.
      = 家ではリラックスことができるけど、家の外ではリラックスすることができないんだ。
      = 家だとリラックスことができるけど、家の外ではリラックスすることができないんだ。

    1. @just a novel lover’s


      It means “because””so” and you use it when you give a reason.
      Ex. 明日は雨なので出かけたくありません。
      = Ashita wa ame nanode dekaketaku arimasen.
      = Because it is going to rain tomorrow, I don’t want to go out.

      Ex. マギーは犬なのでレストランには入れません。
      = Maggie wa inu nanode resutoran niwa hairemasen.

      na-adjective ~ な+ので

      Ex. ひまなのでどこかに行きたい。
      = Hima nanode dokoka ni ikitai.
      = I am free so I want to go out.


  7. Konbanwa Maggie-sensei ^^

    it’s me asking for my understanding again ehehehe

    sensei, is どんな夢を見てるんでしょうか。 mean “I wonder what kind of dream you see?” or just plain “What kind of dream you see?

    1. @just a novel lover’s

      どんな夢を見てるんでしょうか。= What kind of dream are you having? / I wonder what kind of you are having. / What are you dreaming about?
      (の→ん) 見ているんでしょうか?

    2. yes sensei

      I understand the (の→ん) because you have explained it to me before

      I just wondering on the function of でしょう in that sentence ^^

      1. @just a novel lover’s

        でしょう(だろう)is used when you assume something.

        Ex. そちらは寒いでしょうか?
        = Is it cold there? / I wonder if it is cold there.

        Ex. 日本語は難しいでしょう。
        = I bet Japanese is difficult. / I think Japanese is difficult. Is that true?

  8. Un GRAND merci! I really could not understand that from the Minna Nihongo… Especially since the -のです had not being covered yet.

    1. @Toshiaki

      Ex. うちは毎日、ステーキですの。
      Ex. いつも車でそのお店に行きますの。

  9. 2年間独学で日本語を勉強しています。このサイトを見つけたすっごく嬉しいんです!ゆかりさんのレッスンは、わかりやすくてとても役に立ちます。レッスンをしてくれてどうもありがとうございます^^

    1. @Rachel

      Hi Rachel!!
      コメントありがとう!2年間独学でそこまで日本語が書けるなんてすごい!!これからもがんばってね! !JYANE!

  10. Maggie-sensei,

    There is something I found out and I was wondering if you could correct me. のです since it’s explanatory…it sounds more, how can I say it?

    Ok, example:

    暑いです (fact) This sounds kinda cold (no pun intended) it sounds short and abrupt.

    暑いのです (explaining) this sounds better and it sounds kind of inviting. Sorry, I really dont know how to explain. There is an ambiguity that can only be felt in the Japanese language that cannot translate well into English.

    I once heard the following conversation among two Japanese student when my friends and I were playing tennis with them:

    Student 1: 何したの?

    Student 2: ボールと行ったんだ。

    My friend took the ball and ran away with it. So the 行ったんだ was like, obvious and explanatory, no? ボールと行った sounds just…a bit cold.

    Sensei, I would greatly appreciate your insight :) どうもありがとう

    1. @Zebra-kun

      I know many Japanese expressions are hard to translate.
      It’s not 暑いのです。(or 暑いんです)sounds better or warmer than 暑いです。
      When you just state today’s weather, you usually say
      今日は暑いです。(It’s your opinion.)
      If you want to make it sound more friendly and ask listener’s agreement, you say

      You can’t start a conversation with 今日は暑いのです。It sounds strange.
      If you explain why it’s hot, you can use 暑いのです。
      For example,
      Besides it is explanatory, it is also used when you make your point so that it sounds stronger than 暑いです。

      About the conversation you heard :
      ボールと行った sounds strange.
      Maybe they were saying
      = He was gone with a ball.

      Anyway yes, in that case, ~んだ is explanatory. The person was explaining what happened.
      And it is not “cold” at all.

      I hope I answered your question. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask me anytime. !happyface!

  11. マギー先生、ありがとう。From your lesson I understand that the nuance between 寒い and 寒いんだ is that the latter carries an explanatory tone. With that in mind, what’s the difference between 寒いだから and 寒いんだから?

    1. @wasuremono

      Hello!! Ah, OK, first, you can’t say 寒いだから. It should be 寒いから. And you can also add ん →寒いんだから 
      The difference between 寒いから and 寒いんだから is the later one is casual yet it emphasize the fact that it is cold more.

      1. This is very interesting because I can’t find an English equivalent so I don’t know how to process it. Basically, in Japanese I can *specially* emphasize the reason for something:

        寒い。[It] is cold.
        寒いから。Because [it] is cold.
        寒いんだから。Because [it] is cold!!!! (Ahh, did I say cold?).

        Does that make sense?

        1. @waruremono


          寒いんだから is more like
          “I said it’s cold …”

          = Close the windows! (because) It’s cold!

          If you stress your quote
          = I am telling you! It’s cold! Close the windows!

  12. ↓(more dramatic/more literal)

    =Hayaku iku no desu!


    =Hayaku iku no da!

    =Hayaku ikun da!

    So can the “nda/noda” actually be an imperative form? I read young people use it so much it doesn’t really imply a reason (=they overuse it). Is that true?

    1. @Cygnus Nazca
      Yes, those are examples of imperative form.
      And you are right. Young people use statement form a lot.

  13. マギー先生、
    ルナです。 こんにちは、元気ですか。




    そのとき(when we wanna answer why we like something, for example)「~んです」と「ですから」は同じ意味がありますか。



    1. @ルナ

      To answer your question, yes, you can say
      and it is very natural.
      The difference between
      a) *日本語が大好きなんです。= I love Japanese.
      b) *日本語が大好きだからです。= Because I love Japanese.
      (→You wrote ですから but It sounds more natural than 日本語が大好きですから)

      While a) is a statement b) is giving a clear reason.

      Hope this helps…

  14. It’s me again. I had a typo.
    I meant to say, that your mini-lesson answered (NOT ASKED) by question.
    sumimasen. ~~

  15. Hi Maggie Sensai,

    I love your lessons. Although I am a beginner, I have learned a lot just by reading your blog.
    I just started about a month ago.
    This mini-lesson asked my question too because I had problem understanding irunda as well.
    I found some people explain this which is pretty much the same. However, your lesson has more examples and illustrations.
    Thanks a lot for putting up all these for Japanese lover, like me. ^-^

    I am really happy and felt lucky that I found you and your blog.
    Please keep it up.

    B-chan mashida.

    1. @B-chan

      Thank you for visiting this site and your nice comment!! I am very happy to hear this lesson was useful for you.
      Feel free to ask me if you have a question.


  16. Hey!
    What a great lesson! Simple yet very informative and explanatory. I was kind of busy recently and couldn’t keep up with all of Maggie’s lessons but I’m slowly catching up. I was wathcing all the YT videos though. ^_^
    Keep up & Thanks!

    1. @kad3t_uk

      Are you the one who tweeted me before? Many people have got confused but I am not Victor (gimmeaflakeman) but thank you for visiting this site anyway! :)

  17. Thank you soooo much Maggie sensei!!
    Nobody could explain to me as clear as you do, never!

    “simple one letter ん lesson turned into this epic monster lesson!” > I cannot agree more!

    I think it takes time for me to fully understand this form but I will definitely practice more!


    1. @saki
      よかった〜〜 :h:
      I made this lesson for you so hope you come visit this lesson again and again. And please feel free to ask me any questions,OK?
      It was much deeper than I thought it would be but actually many people seem to be interested in this subject. So I am glad I made this. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *